Public Policy and COVID-19: The Path Forward

In both academic and policy communities there is sharp debate over the best COVID-19 strategy for the coming months. Some argue a need to open up, loosen restrictions and allow younger, low-risk individuals to convene and return to pre-pandemic activities. On the other side are those that argue this will undermine vital public health efforts and result in unnecessary lives lost.

What is the path forward? Join Schaeffer Center Director of Research Darius Lakdawalla in conversation with Jay Bhattacharya and Sten H. Vermund, on November 17 for a wide-ranging discussion about the path forward and the role of public policy.

Event Date
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM Pacific


Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD
Nonresident Senior Fellow, USC Schaeffer Center
Professor, Medicine, Stanford University Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research
Director, Stanford Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging

Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine at Stanford University’s Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, director of Stanford’s Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging, and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He also serves as a research associate at Acumen LLC and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

His research focuses on the constraints that vulnerable populations face in making decisions that affect their health status, as well as the effects of government policies and programs designed to benefit vulnerable populations. He has published empirical economics and health services research on the elderly, adolescents, HIV/AIDS and managed care. Most recently, he researched the regulation of the viatical-settlements market (a secondary life-insurance market that often targets HIV patients) and summer/winter differences in nutritional outcomes for low-income American families. He is also working on a project examining labor-market conditions that determine why some U.S. employers do not provide health insurance.

Bhattacharya was previously an economist at the RAND Corporation, and taught health economics as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned a bachelor’s degree, MD and PhD from Stanford University.

Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD
Dean and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Sten Vermund is a pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist focused on diseases of low and middle income countries. His work on HIV-HPV interactions among women in Bronx methadone programs motivated a change in the 1993 CDC AIDS case surveillance definition and inspired cervical cancer screening programs launched within HIV/AIDS programs around the world. The thrust of his research has focused on health care access, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, and prevention of HIV transmission among general and key populations, including mother-to-child. Dr. Vermund has become increasingly engaged in health policy, particularly around sustainability of HIV/AIDS programs and their expansion to non-communicable diseases, pandemic respiratory disease response and prevention, and public health workforce development. Since the advent of the novel coronavirus, his work has engaged colleagues in China and Connecticut for pandemic response.

Darius Lakdawalla, PhD (moderator)
Director, Research, USC Schaeffer Center
Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical Development and Regulatory Innovation, USC School of Pharmacy
Professor, USC Price School of Public Policy

Darius Lakdawalla holds the Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical Development and Regulatory Innovation at USC, where he sits on the faculties of the USC Schaeffer Center, the USC School of Pharmacy and the USC Price School of Public Policy. He is a widely published, award-winning researcher, and a leading authority in both health economics and health policy.

He is currently a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, associate editor for the American Journal of Health Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. He is also an editorial board member at the American Journal of Managed Care: Evidence-Based Diabetes and the American Journal of Managed Care: Evidence-Based Oncology.

Lakdawalla received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and his bachelor’s in mathematics and philosophy from Amherst College. His work has been published in leading journals of economics, medicine and health policy.

We thank Richard Merkin, MD, whose support of the Schaeffer Center helped make this webinar possible.